‘KUWTK’: Kendall Jenner Wouldn’t Be a Model Without the Show — And Not For the Reason You Think

Love them or hate them, there is no denying that the Kardashian-Jenner sisters used their reality TV platform to reach unprecedented and unpredictable levels of success. It’s hard to remember now, but back when Keeping Up with the Kardashians aired in 2006, most of the sisters were completely unknown.

Over the course of its long run — which is coming to an end next year with the 20th season — each of the sisters has leveraged their fame into high-profile careers and astonishing wealth. 

Among them, Kendall Jenner has become a successful model. Of course, each of the sisters can thank the show for their reach and success, but Kendall Jenner’s modeling career was rooted in the show in a way that might surprise fans. 

Kendall Jenner is the only sister with a ‘real’ job

Kendall Jenner
Kendall Jenner | John Phillips/WireImage

Each of the Kardashian-Jenner sisters has managed to transform their popularity from the reality TV world into their own platforms. Kim Kardashian started a popular shapewear line. Kylie Jenner launched her successful — but controversial — makeup line and used her social media influence to promote it.

Kourtney Kardashian focused her attention on the lifestyle platform Poosh. Each of these endeavors has brought on its fair share of praise and criticism, but Kendall Jenner has stood out as unique among the family. 

While the rest of the sisters focused on self-made projects that were primarily about their own brands and social media accounts, Kendall Jenner landed a career as a fashion model. She doesn’t have the impressive net worth of her sisters, but Jenner has also been called the only Kardashian-Jenner sister with a “real” job.

She has also seen real success. She began modeling when she was just 14 years old, and today she’s able to command top dollar from some very lucrative brands. 

Kendall Jenner avoided the limelight on ‘KUWTK’

When KUWTK premiered, Jenner was just a child. She didn’t seem to relish the spotlight the way her other sisters did, and several moments on the show highlighted the young star’s desire to get away from the cameras. A slideshow on People even goes over all the times Jenner was “left out” of family moments. 

Jenner, the only sister without children of her own, didn’t get a Mother’s Day shout out. When Kim, Kourtney, Khloe, and Kylie posed with their children for Christmas, Kendall was absent from the photograph. 

When the model was 17, the family took a vacation to Greece. Of course, this outing was captured on film for the TV series, and footage shows Jenner, feeling left out of the festivities, yelling for the camera crew to “go away.”

She refused to join her family at breakfast because she wanted to avoid the cameras. In fact, Jenner has often seemed to be the black sheep of the family, and much of her frustration and outsider status has revolved around trying to avoid the spotlight that everyone else rushed toward. 

Did Jenner become a model to avoid TV cameras? 

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It may sound odd to say that someone became a model to avoid cameras. After all, models spend more time in front of photographers than almost anyone else in the world. In Kendall Jenner’s case, however, this may be exactly what happened.

She started modeling as a young teen, and ironically, getting in front of the cameras for work meant she got to avoid the ones in her own home. Jenner spent a lot of time traveling for her modeling career, and that meant she spent less time having her personal life broadcast to the world. 

In an episode of KUWTK, Jenner expressed frustration that her mom, Kris Jenner, was planning to attend Fashion Week in London where Jenner would be modeling.

“Why are you following me everywhere?” Jenner asks in obvious annoyance. “That’s like my time to get away from home. I’m dead serious.” Jenner’s success in the modeling world may have been built out of her desire to have some control over when and where her image is captured so she could have a little privacy.